Building a strong foundation makes it easier to build a strong house.  If you don't have a Master Data Management (MDM) strategy in place, it will cost you more time and more money to deploy solutions that rely on your data – and you might be surprised at where some of those costs are incurred.

What's The Secret?

We've cited the Active Directory example before; if you don't have a rock solid AD environment, it is going to cost you more time and more money to deploy other solutions like workflows, unified communications, and collaboration platforms.  With data, the example holds true even more.  According to Gartner, “seeking to transform your business without any discipline akin to MDM will lead to far higher costs related to data integration and to loss of efficiencies in duplicate efforts to manage business data.

A Few Questions

When it comes to MDM, the question has little to do with a budget.  The money gets spent to manage the data anyway.  Is it spent once, up front, to get the foundation in place?  Or is it spent over and over again?  Back to the house – with a bad foundation, you might spend less money the first time you have to fix the drywall that gets cracked because the foundation is bad, but the drywall will crack again and again until the foundation is fixed.  What seemed like a big chunk up front – fixing the foundation – would have paid for itself many times over by the time we fixed the drywall, the plumbing, the windows….you get the idea.

MDM can help you run the business more efficiently.  Streamlining systems and lowering costs will improve the way the business operates.

Customer Example

A large professional services firm produces four expensive publications each year, and the publication is mailed to the firm's large list of contacts.  The firm has multiple divisions, and each division has its own contact database.  The firm shared with us that they have learned that, in some cases, four different copies are being delivered to the same person at the same address, because the person was engaged in four different areas of their business.

There are other problems with the mailing, but let's focus on that one problem – multiple copies being mailed to one person.  The publication is expensive to produce, and heavy, so a high cost to email.  The firm is guessing that 25% of their final mailing list is bad data – duplicates, bad addresses, moved, deceased, or otherwise no longer viable/relevant.  That means that 25% of the budget for this one project is essentially wasted money that could be recaptured with proper management of the firm's data.

MDM can help you grow the business by providing a single view of critical information funnels like customers and products.  A deeper understanding of customers helps sales and marketing achieve their goals.  A consolidated view of product data can help bring new products to market faster, capturing market share ahead of the competition.

Let's look at that same professional services firm.  The key point is that each division has its own contact database.  Other divisions do not know the breadth of the firm's relationship with a single contact.  The firm's largest corporate client could look like a bother and a waste of time to the division that handles the CEO's spouse's small business finances.  A 360-degree view of the client will create a centralized view of the client that will be referenced by all systems and processes.  Customer service will improve.  Cross-selling and up-selling are possible because each department knows the opportunities that exist within the relationship.

Master Data Management Summary

Finally, Master Data Management can help you transform your business.  How?  By giving you a competitive advantage through agile processes and an enterprise-wide ability to adopt and adapt to new strategies.

A client has acquired a number of other companies over the past couple of years, including several that were selling to the same market.  Multiple systems managing duplicate data with no single source of the truth was hamstringing the organization, actually preventing organic growth, and failing to achieve the economies of scale that were expected as a result of the acquisition.  MDM becomes the trusted source of master data, allowing the development of composite applications and process orchestrations that are productive, speedy, and effective.  With MDM, the organization has regained its agility and has leveled the competitive playing field.

Don't look at MDM without first identifying the business issues that exist today.  Work with a trusted partner who can help you objectively evaluate the potential for MDM in your environment.  With the advances that have been made in the platform, MDM is an affordable foundation for nearly every “house.”

Next Steps

Review our case studies and engagements where we helped companies just like yours solve a variety of business needs.

About Oakwood

Since 1981, Oakwood has been helping companies of all sizes, across all industries, solve their business problems.  We bring world-class consultants to architect, design and deploy technology solutions to move your company forward.   Our proven approach guarantees better business outcomes.  With flexible engagement options, your project is delivered on-time and on budget.  11,000 satisfied clients can’t be wrong.

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